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Disputing Trump claims, Japan says no evidence Iran was behind Saudi attack

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“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” said Japanese defense minister Taro Kono.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.

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“We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Kono said during a press briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”

The only evidence the Trump administration has released to substantiate its claim of Iranian responsibility are satellite photos that experts said are not clear enough to assign blame. Ret. Gen. Mark Hertling, a CNN intelligence analyst, said the images “really don’t show anything, other than pretty good accuracy on the strike of the oil tanks.”

Kono said Japan, an ally of both Iran and the U.S., is still in the process of determining who was behind the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by drones.

“Given Japan’s strong ties with the U.S. based on the U.S.-Japan Alliance, and the relationship of trust that Japan has with various countries located in the Middle East, Japan is in a position to fulfill a mediating role,” said Kono.

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The defense minister’s statement is the second time this year Japan has contradicted the Trump administration’s attempt to pin an attack on Iran with insufficient evidence. In June, as Common Dreams reported, the Trump administration blamed Iran for an explosion that damaged a Japanese oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Yutaka Katada, president of the Japanese company that owns the tanker, publicly disputed the White House’s account of the attack.

Japan is not the only major nation to express skepticism about the Trump administration’s rush to blame Iran for the attacks, which briefly paralyzed Saudi oil production and sent crude prices soaring.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Tuesday that he is not aware of evidence demonstrating Iranian involvement, despite claims by U.S. and Saudi officials.

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“Up to now France doesn’t have proof permitting it to say that these drones came from such and such a place, and I don’t know if anyone has proof,” said Le Drian. “We need a strategy of de-escalation for the area, and any move that goes against this de-escalation would be a bad move for the situation in the region.”


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‘Stop lying!’ MSNBC’s Steve Schmidt rains hell on GOP for defending Trump’s ‘dime-store Mussolini’ schemes

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Former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt called out his old party for "lying" about President Donald Trump's actions toward Ukraine to distract from an "unprecedented" extortion scheme.

Schmidt appeared Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to make predictions about the upcoming public impeachment hearings, and he said witnesses would tell a tale of sordid corruption.

"The American people will see when this begins to play out publicly is an act of corruption unprecedented in its magnitude and its severity," Schmidt said. "What we see is the president of the United States extorting a foreign head of state, withholding congressionally approved military assistance to a nation that has a hot war with the Russians on the eastern front, for the purposes of getting dirt on the president's political opponent."

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Chinese President Xi Jinping urges Britain to return Parthenon Marbles to Greece

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday urged Britain to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, wading into a decades-old dispute between the countries over the ownership of the sculptures.

The ancient friezes, which include depictions of battles between mythical ancient Greeks and centaurs, were taken by British diplomat Lord Elgin in the early 19th century and are now on display at the British Museum in London.

Britain has always refused to return the carvings -- often still known as the Elgin Marbles -- arguing that they were taken with the permission of local Ottoman rulers at the time.

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Poland says Netflix Holocaust documentary ‘rewrites history’

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Poland has complained to Netflix that a Holocaust documentary series on Nazi German death camps "rewrites history" by featuring an "incorrect" map.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called on the popular US streaming and production website to correct the "terrible mistake" that he believed had been "committed unintentionally".

A Netflix consultant in Poland who only identified herself as Malgorzata told AFP on Tuesday the company was "treating the issue as a priority" and that its headquarters would soon issue an official statement.

"Netflix did not intend to offend anyone or compromise any values," she added.

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